Today, we had our first group meeting of the new year, 2012. We decided to review health and safety in the group. It sounds boring but we had a very lively discussion of the dangers in the lab. We also played health and safety bingo and we had a quiz. It was a productive chat.
One of the most dangerous things we use is probably liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen can cause burns if it comes into contact with skin. More dangerously, it can quickly expel the air from an enclosed area leading to asphyxiation. Sadly, it may to have resulted in the death of a lab researcher last year. Information on handling liquid nitrogen safely is availabe here from the Occupational Health and Safety Unit at Cardiff University. There is also some very succinct information from Newcastle University here.
Almost as dangerous would seem to be the people – i.e. all of us. Lab accidents are rare without people being invovled. However, this is clearly a difficult danger to aviod when one is doing experiments. We often use sharps, viruses and blood making us potentially more dangerous. Our chat today hopefully made us more aware of the dangers in the laboratory and thus working safely. We all selected an SOP to revise for next week. Sounds like good homework.